Business, building trades unite to support regulatory reforms

A bill passed out of a Senate committee recently that will give employers, developers, investors and employees greater certainty about the processing of state project permits. Senate Bill 657 would create clear guidelines and timelines for environmental review — a "shot clock" to ensure that studies have clear timelines so decisions can be made on projects set to move forward.

The AGC-backed bill is supported by other business groups as well as the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council.

SB 6527 requires that:

• Government agencies responsible for State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review must complete environmental reviews no later than 30 days after publication of a categorical exemption, a determination of non-significance, or a final Environmental Impact Statement prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);

• Government agencies complete environmental project reviews no later than 12 months of submitting an application for projects not requiring a federal NEPA review;

• With limited exception, state permitting agencies must adopt and follow the federal NEPA review if the federal review has already been completed; and

• Projects be exempt from SEPA review if they are already subject to the federal Coastal Zone Management Act or Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.

The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee.